Monday, June 13, 2016

********** OWFI CONTEST WINNER ********

Hello everyone! 
I had a wonderful time at the 2016 OWFI Conference. I am sharing my Inspirational Article that won a Third Place Prize. 

Undeniable Signs
By: C. L. Collar

      I am in a daze, thinking of things that are now in the past.
Things that maybe I could have changed; other decisions that I should have made. My car is cruising at seventy-five miles an hour. I am lost in thoughts of sorrow.
            A monarch butterfly floats by my front windshield as if in slow motion. Its beautiful wings never miss a beat. It does not flinch at the thought of crashing into the thick glass just millimeters away. I watch it pass. Mesmerized by its faith in God that it would not find its death by the windshield on this day.
            As the monarch slips out of my view, a calm essence fills my body. My thoughts turn to a memory of my daughter laughing and singing in the passenger's seat, head bopping to the beat of one of her favorite songs. A smile replaces the scowl on my brow as I realize, my dear daughter, Anna is with me.
            Dragonflies and butterflies, her favorite songs, soft whispers in my ear as I doze off to the land of dreams. These are just some the signs she sends me to let me know that she is happy and always near if I need her.
            Before Anna passed into Heaven, I never looked for signs from above. I should have. Looking back, I reflect on the signs God sent to me, trying to prepare me for the day that Anna and I would be parted.
            The first sign was so subtle that I understand why I missed it. I was preparing a flowerbed for my mother-in-law. We had bought some lovely bleeding heart bushes that morning and I needed to get them into the ground before we left the next day to go home. Home was one thousand miles away. I worked diligently, digging into the rich Wyoming soil, adding just the right amount of potting soil and water into each hole. Then I gently placed each plant in and pressed the loose soil around it. I leaned back and admired my work. The bushes were perfect.
            Rising, I walked over to the outside faucet to wash the mud from my hands. As the black washed away, I noticed that one of the stones in my mother's ring was missing. I looked all around the faucet for it. Nothing. I went back to the flowerbed and dug around the newly planted bushes desperate to find the missing stone. The ring had been given to me by my three wonderful daughters and it bore each of their birthstones. Now, I had lost one of them. The missing stone had belonged to my daughter that now lives in Heaven. I had been given my first sign that I would lose this precious gift someday.
Anna's stone, lost under the bleeding heart bushes.
            The second sign was much more vivid. It occurred when all of my daughters were still in school. I should have seen it for what it was, but denial is a very strong emotion when it involves letting go of someone who is precious to you.
            In the dream, I was with my family at our house. We were all slowly and quietly getting ready for a funeral. Anna was not there. It was her funeral that we were preparing for. The air was heavy with sadness, but no hysteria, just calm, peaceful sadness. The only person that I told the dream about was my husband. He did not understand it either. At the time I referred to it as a nightmare, because to me that was what it was. I know now that it was a vision dream. God was again reaching out to let me know that he would soon be taking Anna back to her heavenly home.
            Years went by. All of my girls graduated from high school and were starting their new lives. I stayed busy with work and my numerous hobbies. The messages I had received were long forgotten.
            Then it happened. Out of the blue, Anna was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. In my mind I was asking God, why this was happening, why was this burden being put on my lovely, sweet child? There was no answer and no time to dwell on the why. Anna began chemotherapy the very next day.
            Bravely she forged ahead, fighting this battle with a smile on her face and a positive attitude. The doctor had told us that this form of leukemia was very treatable and almost never came back after placed into remission. This was a little wink of hope in a heart full of fear. I forced myself to believe what the doctors said.  
            On the way home, after her first round of chemotherapy, Anna was unusually quiet. I asked her if something was wrong.
         "I'm okay, Mom, but there is something that I need to tell you." she said with a little frown replacing her ever present smile. "I feel that you need to know that when I was in high school, I had a dream that I died of leukemia."
            Her reply sent a chill down my spine and the memory of my nightmare rushing back into my head. My heart sunk deeper into my chest. Her dream was in the same time frame as my nightmare. I pulled the car to the side of the road and grabbed her hand. "It was just a dream." I said. "The doctor told us that your type of leukemia is very treatable and 99% of the time doesn't come back. You have to believe what he says. You have to keep a positive attitude."
            A small smile returned to her face, but it did not reach her eyes. "I know," she said, "but if it is time, I want you to know that I am ready."
            I held back the tears that were squeezing the blood right out of my heart. There was no way that I was going to tell her about my dream. All of the doctors had told us how important a positive attitude was in fighting cancer.
            "Well, I am not," I said giving her a big hug. "You have gotten through the first step and you are doing great. Now, I don't know about you, but I am ready to sleep in my own bed."
            I pulled the car back out on the road and turned up the radio which was playing Born to Be Wild. We both sang along as loudly as we could.
            This was my third sign from God. He would soon be taking his precious gift back and he wanted me to know that he had prepared her to leave. I still clung to my denial.
            Then she was gone.
            My mind dissolved into jelly. My chest tightened pushing all of the air out of my lungs. Even as I gazed at the smile on my sweet Anna's face as I said my goodbye, I could not believe it was real. I was enveloped in a sadness that no words, thoughts, or feelings could penetrate. I searched for a reason for my loss. I found none.
            About a week after the funeral, I received my first sign from Anna. I lay in bed, my hair drenched from the tears that never seemed to run dry. As I lay there, trying to force the "what ifs" out of my head, I found myself slipping slowly into a calm place. I relaxed as the tears paused. My mind was finally at rest. Lost in that time between wakefulness and dreams, my daughter came to visit me. She said not a word. She appeared as an angel clothed in the purest form of light. Her brilliant smile and shinning blue eyes told me all I needed to know. She was all right and happy in her new heavenly home. I slept without tears on my pillow that night.
            I woke eager to tell my husband about my dream. It seems that she had visited us both that night. His vision was that of a sun covered by angry black clouds. The black clouds parted and slowly uncovered a brilliantly glowing sun filled with warmth. To him this dream meant that she now had no fears and no pain. She was happy in her new life.
            After that night, the healing began. It would take time but I knew both my husband and I would make it through this terrible time in our lives.
           As the years passed, Anna kept sending signs to me that me that told me she was always only a thought away. A butterfly floating close by, lighting briefly on my hand; dragonflies hovering for moments longer than normal as her words, "I love you, Mama," echoed in my ear. When tears found their way to my pillow, she would encompass me in a soothing heavenly embrace that left my whole body with a feeling of complete contentment.
            Time has passed and finally I have been given the answer to the question that plagued my mind for so many years. Anna was taken back to her heavenly home, not because of anything I had done wrong. It was because of all of the things that she had done right. She had earned her heavenly reward early in her life by doing what she had been sent here to do. She was now free of worry, pain, and fear. She was free to spread her beautiful soul throughout the world. I truly believe that is what she is doing now.
            So when one of your loved ones flies up to live amongst the angels, please keep this in mind. They are not gone. They are only a thought away. Look for the signs that they will send to you. When you open your eyes to these, you will truly be amazed at the comfort you will find in God's heavenly embrace.


  1. Beautiful piece! Congrats and thank you for sharing this. It gives me comfort.